Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)

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Three states, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana, have recently rebuffed a proposal, approved by the Centre’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), to test a new kind of transgenic cotton seed.

About Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC):

  • It is a statutory committee constituted under the “Rules for the Manufacture, Use/Import/Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro Organisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells (Rules, 1989)” framed under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • GEAC functions under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). 
  • It was earlier called Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, which was changed to Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee in the year 2010.
  • Functions:
    • As per Rules, 1989, it is responsible for the appraisal of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
    • The committee is also responsible for appraisal of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the environment, including experimental field trials.
    • It keeps a check on the use, import, and export of genetically modified (GM) organisms and crops. 
    • GEAC also has the power to prohibit the manufacture and use of certain recombinants as they are hazardous for commercial use.
  • Composition:
    • GEAC is chaired by the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary of MoEF&CC and co-chaired by a representative from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). 
    • Presently, it has 24 members and meets every month to review the applications in the areas indicated above.
    • The members comprise experts from other ministries as well as institutions such as the ICAR, ICMR, CCMB, and so on.


Q1) What are recombinants?

Recombination is a process by which pieces of DNA are broken and recombined to produce new combinations of alleles. This recombination process creates genetic diversity at the level of genes that reflects differences in the DNA sequences of different organisms.

Source: Three States rebuff GM regulator’s directive to test transgenic cotton